December 16, 2010

A Miraculous Christmas?

Ah Christmas... such an "interesting" time of year.  Even now as I write about it, I really don't know quite how to feel.  I know I should be happy and cheerful but I'm not, mostly because yet again another Christmas year approaches and I didn't get it right.  This year has been especially difficult to get it right, not just for me but for so many people.  How can we get it right when incomes are cut, jobs are lost and so much fear of the future.  Yet we all want that Martha Stewart perfect Christmas.  I confess I want it, I will always want it because it's pretty and perfect and well, not like me.  

In this grand Christmas effort there always comes a point where I have to look at from the beginning.  Mary - a virgin, not your skanky kind of girl, found herself miraculously pregnant and pretty much all hell broke loose for her and her fiancee Joseph.  Not an ideal beginning for a new marriage.  But both Mary and Joseph encountered an angel of God and believed his word and promises.  They believed what might have sounded to me insane.  Then just about when this miraculous baby is due, the government places harsh demands on them and they must travel to be counted.  And while traveling she goes into labor and has to have her baby, the child of God, in a barn.  Just imagine, you see a cow, a donkey, cow poopy, and then a newborn baby, why yes, that IS the son of God.  Then some freaked out shepherds show up kneeling if not groveling at the feet of this newborn with their lambs making enough noise to wake the baby, the baby that is the Son of God.  Good grief!  This birth, the one that brought us all this overwhelming, over consuming, over stimulating Christmas was far from perfect, ideal and easy. 

So how do I, an average Joe, think I'm going to created anything perfect or ideal?  And every Christmas I get the Martha Stewart smack down.  Even today as I sat in my seat for 8 hours of jury duty, with a throbbing toothache - because of a filling I had replaced the day prior, I wondered how was I going to do it all and with what money.  I simply looked at the list and just realized I couldn't and I crossed off some things.  I guess that would be the "cow poopy" part of my story.  Then I when I got home I noticed the Christmas wreath that was hanging on my front door was gone, stolen -- the one my friend made, the only one I had.  Yes, definately Christmas isn't going to be perfect this year.  But GOOD NEWS people, whether you believe what I do or not, Christmas will still be. There is much to be anticipated, do I really believe that to be true?  Can there possibly be joy in the chaos, in the Christmas  that doesn't go as planned?  I have to believe!
My wish for you is that you believe in spite of the disappointments, thwarted plans and "cow poopy" that surrounds you.  Believe in a miraculous birth!

December 9, 2010

It's a French Thing

I've told you all about my love for Lafayette Square before - a taste of Paris in St. Louis - and I've painted so MANY watercolors of this part of town that you must be sick of me.  But I never grow tired of it.  I paint a little, dream a little and get a little taste of Paris too - in the form of a chocolate croissant to be exact.  My absolute most favorite cafe is Rue Lafayette and before I met or even knew the owner Araceli I came here at least once a week to sit and remember my one visit to Paris so many years ago.  I eat my chocolate croissant, trying not to devour it in three bites, sip my coffee and enjoy the view.  No matter what time of year I come, it is beautiful.  It's one of the nicest things I do for myself. And, if you ever come visit me it's definitely a place I will take you.  So it is with so much excitement and honor that Araceli has invited me to show a few of my Lafayette Square paintings at her shop this Sunday.

And, for the first time I've had several 8x10 giclee prints made for purchase as well. (like the one pictured above)  It's the perfect Sunday too because the Holiday Parlor Tour will be going on as well and you can get a peek inside of some of the Square's most fabulous historic homes.
So, dress in your most cozy cuddly coat, twist your scarf up like a Frenchmen, take the tour and finish up at Rue Lafayette.  See you there.   

November 18, 2010


Today, a busy day (but then isn't every day a "busy" day), I'm posting a quote that I need tattooed on my forearm so I can read as I'm speeding through life and sometimes even art.

What makes us truly human may not be how fast we are able to accomplish a task, but what we experience fully, carefully and quietly in the process. - Makoto Fujimura

I know this isn't a new idea, I've written of the importance of slowing down and taking your time before.  But a couple of weekends ago I was reminded once again of this.   I was a teaching a small group of beginning artists how to paint in watercolors.  I kept it simple and had my students paint an apple.  The most important thing I believe for beginners is to help them see - see the light, shadow and how color reflects.  And while seeing transfer the best you can - with a little instruction from me on to your paper.  I find it fascinating how people really enjoy and learn from this fairly simple, slow but thoughtful exercise.  But, I had one student who rushed through, painted the apple, the napkin the wood of the table ...and whatever else he saw and he was finished.  I thought for sure he wanted to shout, "I win".  I pointed out a few elements he missed in his hurry, sat beside him and made him ONLY paint the apple and look at it.  Sure he was a good draftsman but in his hurry he didn't create the best picture he was capable of.  His girlfriend beside him confirmed that he rushes through everything he does.  "He does everything in a hurry, " she said.  That little lesson taught all of us something!  And now I'm wondering can art change life, the every day life? 

With so much around me pulling at me for my time and attention, I have to choose how I will spend my days.  I could kick myself for all the time I spend on the web reading about other artists, or Facebook envying "friends" or even three stations on my "no cable" TV.  Because I want to grow as an artist I need to take the time and do the work and not speed through it saying look how much I got done today.  

Here's a letter from John Mayer that I really like and think he hits the nail on the head like only John can do. 

Greetings from the land of complete thoughts and a strong sense of self worth!

A lot of you are wondering why I decided to quit Twitter. And I’m ready to explain it to you now that I’m off Twitter and can explain anything in a salient manner. It occurred to me that since the invocation of Twitter, nobody who has participated in it has created any lasting art. And yes! Yours truly is included in that roundup as well. Let me make sure that statement is as absolute and irrevocable as possible by buzzing your tower one more time: no artwork created by someone with a healthy grasp of social media thus far has proven to be anything other than disposable.

By now you’ve called up the fail whale and his birdie friends and told them to get their brass knuckles ready cause a fight is fixin’ to go down. But hear me out.

Has any artist, since they’ve begun to give you daily insights into their life created their best work yet? Are the best writers of our time on Twitter? You rip Tina Fey for shitting on the construct but she’s busy penning the best show on television. Aaron Sorkin says he’s never used Facebook, a statement that the guardians of the internet are up at arms over, yet he makes an artistic contribution that the media sites are talking about so much that they’ve developed that gross white stuff at the corners of their mouths. (What is that stuff?)

Those who decide to remain offline will make better work than those online. Why? Because great ideas have to gather. They have to pass the test of withstanding thirteen different moods, four different months and sixty different edits. Anything less is day trading. You can either get a bunch of mentions now or change someone’s life next year.

Hey, I didn’t make the rules. I’m just telling you what I’m pretty sure they are.

I’m not knocking Twitter for those who are trying to make a name for themselves. Some people need all the RTs they can get today. But for those who have already established themselves it’s a slow erosion of the artistic notion.

Great art has survived the changes in technology, from wax cylinder to tape to Pro Tools and beyond, but this is different. This affects the writing, the conception. You want to know the best way a musician can start making shit music? If they start referring to themselves as a “brand.” I’d rather hear an artist refer to themselves in the third person than as a “brand.” Jif peanut butter is a brand. A singer is a soul. People who think of themselves as a “brand” subsequently refer to themselves as “marketing” their “brand”. And when you convert your art into the art of real-time brand management, I suddenly have no more interest in it. I don’t respect marketing alone. Anybody can market something now. And that’s cool. When it’s time to market something.

I’m not a brand, and I don’t refer to myself in the third person. I’m a dude who plays guitar and writes songs. When I’m done writing and recording them I will market them. Luckily for those who are cracking their knuckles ready to knock my point of view, that won’t be for a long while. Because good shit takes a long time.

And this is going to take a very long time.

Currently listening to: everything -JM

November 4, 2010

Hang on Little Tomato

Brrr... chilly nights and I have just a few tomatoes hanging on the vine.  I'm sad to see them go and I've been thinking of this lovely little song written and performed by Pink Martini called "Hang on Little Tomato".  It makes me happy.  Go listen to it here.  Someday I'm going to illustrate this song.  I think it would make a great children's book.

The sun has left and forgotten me
It's dark, I cannot see
Why does this rain pour down
I'm gonna drown
In a sea
Of deep confusion

Somebody told me, I don't know who

Whenever you are sad and blue
And you're feelin' all alone and left behind
Just take a look inside and you'll find

You gotta hold on, hold on through the night

Hang on, things will be all right
Even when it's dark
And not a bit of spark
Sing-song sunshine from above
Spreading rays of sunny love

Just hang on, hang on to the vine

Stay on, soon you'll be divine
If you start to cry, look up to the sky
Something's coming up ahead
To turn your tears to dew instead

And so I hold on to his advice

When change is hard and not so nice
You listen to your heart the whole night through
Your sunny someday will come one day soon to you.

November 3, 2010

Makoto Fujimura

This summer my brother loaned me a book entitled Refractions - A Journey of Faith, Art and Culture written by a Nihonga (Japanese-style painting) artist, Makoto Fujimura .  I have been chewing on it all summer and finally have decided this is a book I need to always have at my finger tips.  Regardless of your spiritual bent I think this book can speak to the soul of every individual who is an artist and wonders what place he or she has in this world.  For years and I have mourned the fact that didn't have a draw or talent for medicine, accounting, lawyering (I know it's not a word) - practical gifts.  Gifts that are deemed worthy because of their ability to bring in money.  I've always wondered allowed to God, "Why did you make me love painting and writing so much."  All my life I've heard that these things I love to do are "only" or "just" hobbies.  In fact just a couple of weeks ago a woman said to me while referring to my art, " I don't have any hobbies like you Amy."  I was screaming inside.  HOBBY!?!?!  But that is our culture.  Art seems to hold a lesser place than let's say accounting.  Art is just a nice hobby.  Is it?

For you new artists exploring your creative side, it might at first feel like a hobby, but then at some point you will realize this is as important as your heart or lungs or feet to your existence.  Mr. Fujimura delves into the spiritual importance of art and points out how art changes our world, reflects a better world and is as important to humanity as any other profession.  I'm flustered in my words trying to tell you how good this book is, just go read it.  You'll see.

October 25, 2010

Thank you to the St. Louis Art Fans

Thank you for coming to the Art Underground Fall Quarterly  Show.  This show was very personal to me – my first show,  in my favorite part of the city, at my brother Phil’s amazing home.  I never dreamt I would end up living in St. Louis.  But it’s been a city I’ve fallen in love with since moving here three years ago.  These watercolors are an exploration and documentation of my new home town.  Lafayette Square in particular is my favorite part of the city and I’ve been coming here to paint from day one.  I love that I’ve found a home in a city full of history yet brimming with possibility.  There’s a great deal more of exploring and painting to be done here.

I dedicated this show to Philip and Becca Woods,
“Thank you for your big love and steady faith!”

October 15, 2010

Art Underground Art Show - October 23

Abbey on the Park
Write it in ink folks.  My first and biggest art show here in St. Louis will be in approximately a week.  I'm so excited and yes, a little stressed.  I'll be framing all weekend long - and if you are a reader of my blog at all you know how much I really dislike framing...grrrr.  But it is coming together.  I do find when I take my time, it just works.  Here are more details about the show on this here website  ART UNDERGROUND.  I'm so honored to be sharing the space with two other artists. One of the artists John White is a photographer who moved to St. Louis the same time I did three years ago and this is his first show as well.  For those of you not local, I will be posting pictures of the show and will be making a few prints available for purchase after the show - like the abbey above.  I hope to see you if you can make it and please do find me.  I'll be the one sweating but smiling.
Abbey on the Park
1505 Missouri Ave. #2E
Saint Louis, MO
October 23
6:00 pm to 11:30 pm

September 25, 2010

Smooth Sailing?

... nothing by blue skies... If only

This past week I received and e-mail from someone who visited my blog and wanted some advice.  Interestingly she was asking for advice on life questions that had nothing to do with art.  I was surprised on a couple of levels the first being that non- visual artists DO read art blogs and the second surprise was her statement that said "it is so good to see a woman rise above and and turn things around in such a positive way."  I said that out loud to Kitty who was bathing herself next to me and I do believe she rolled her eyes.  I have been thinking about this for awhile and it's flattering as heck but the reality is that my life isn't one that is the most positive.  I simply choose to ONLY write positive inspiring words on this blog.  I need it and you need it.  But that certainly doesn't mean my life is perfect.  There are a few things that have helped me get through tough times like unemployment, divorce, more unemployment and just that fear that keeps you up through the night where you think you are going to crack just from crying so hard.  And these things are...

1. My creative abilities
2. Great wonderful friends who encourage me and laugh with and AT me.
3. My family 

And all of these things are gifts from God.  So because so much has been given to me I feel compelled to used this blog to bring good, beauty, encouragement to those who read it.  Like you, I get battered all day and most days and from many directions.   For me to use this blog to bash life, bash my job, people or god forbid other artists, I would just be contributing more pain and ugliness.  I determined long ago that this would not be the place for that.  So please fellow bloggers, artists, struggling souls, remember when you watch the "stars" on TV, read a blog, look at your neighbor they don't have it all together and somehow you missed the boat.  We can craft a life for display.  I chose to create a blog that uplifts.  I'm not trying to hide my inadequacies, just not focus on them.  But most importantly,  please don't wait to have a perfect life, a perfect set up, a perfect ______(fill in the blank) before you let your creative spirit fly.  I've had to learn to paint while crying.  And trust me, you paint just as well, if not better.      

September 23, 2010


Peonies are long past, but this is a little 8X10 watercolor I did this spring and finally got around to posting.  But just a reminder to all you gardeners, fall is the time to transplant and divide this beautiful flower.  I'll be doing that in a few weeks and to those local, I'll be happy to share if you would like a peony for your yard.

September 20, 2010

My Flowers

Where flowers bloom so does hope
 Lady Bird Johnson

I guess I was growing hope as much as flowers this year.  This little vase holds all flowers I grew this year - marigolds, bitty zinnias and lavender.  For more info about this painting just go here. And there's alot more hope where that came from.

(Thanks Sue at A Brush with Color for having so many great quotes that I borrow!  She's a kindred spirit - watercolor artist and quote collector.)

September 19, 2010

Zinnias, Zinnias, Zinnias

For purchase info click here.
It seems like such a long, long summer - so very hot and full of lots of work and even more changes.  But one thing that keeps me sane is that you really can't screw up when you plant zinnias.  They are the easiest to grow and I must say the happiest flower I know.  It looks like they're laughing in my yard.  It's a gray, rainy day here in St. Louis so I must hurry and get back to my place on the couch and enjoy the dreary coolness.  (My cat is snoring as I type this - silly thing.)
To purchase click here

September 5, 2010

These Times

"Whether it's the best of times 
or the worst of times, 
it's the only time we've got." - Art Buchwald

Hope you all enjoy your day tomorrow - love Labor Day.  I look forward to more beautiful weather and a day of painting some flowers from my garden.  My marigolds and zinnias did well this year, but heck if you can't grow marigolds.... Make the most of your time, I will, even if it means sitting still and breathing.

August 27, 2010

First Watercolor Painting (gasp)

It was this time of year nineteen years ago that I signed up for my first watercolor class.  And this here is the "lovely" (cough) little painting I did in the basement of my parents house testing out my new watercolors that I bought for the class.  This old set of chest of drawers sat very patiently while I painted it on heavy sketch paper - not even watercolor paper.  Over the years of cleaning and moving eight times, I kept this beginning.  It's a reminder of growth.  I can look back and say,   
"See I HAVE improved and I have proof." 

I only wish I could say this was true for many other areas of life.  As we age do we improve?  I'm a bit of skeptic these days. "Things" just don't get better because I get older.  Improvement is imminent when a person is deliberate.  I have been diligent at becoming a better artist.  It has been slow and frustrating but I do see improvement.  This little painting leaves me wondering what other areas of life should I be working on with the same diligence and perseverance. Patience with people? Generosity? Being less self-absorbed?  yes Yes YES.  Today, I think watercolor painting is easier...

August 14, 2010

SPAIN - The Watercolors

Welcome .It's been nearly a month since my vacation in Spain.  I haven't been out of the country for many many years and so this was quite an adventure... sometimes an exhausting adventure especially since I know very little Spanish.  But there are elements of vacation that I LOVE and they remain the same no matter where I go.  To me vacation is more than just laying around - it's a vacation of the senses-new sites, new sounds, new tastes.   
The Royal Botanical Gardens in Spain.  I spent several hours sketching while my travel bud slept on a bench.

An old building in a Madrid square done in pen and "loosened" up with water.

I can always find geraniums. This is pool side in Tenerife at a beautiful new resort on the south side of the island.  Lots of tourists from Europe come here to vacation.

Pool side at the Regency Country Club La Estania.  I was up very early and sat and watched the sun rise.  The light is so different in this part of the world.  The Canary Islands are close to the northern part of Africa.  And I loved painting these white empty chairs before all the topless tourists filled them.
Looking out on the balcony my first morning in Tenerife.
My paper souvenirs from my trip to Madrid and Tenerife

Spanish homes on the island.
Los Gigantes on the the west side of Tenerife Island.  Huge cliffs tower over the ocean.  It's the prettiest part of the island.

August 11, 2010

Remembering to BE a Geranium

It's stifling hot here in the Mid-West.  As soon as I step outside in the morning, the air weighs so heavy on me I have trouble breathing.  My garden is looking a little heavy too and I don't have many things blooming.  My garden could be synonymous for my spirit.  Not much blooming, just trying to bare the heat and stay alive.  Changes at work, uncertainty of tomorrow, the constant longing for....  
It feels like my heart is burdened as much as my flowers are.  

But on my porch in their terracotta pots, the geraniums thrive and bloom.  I can't help but smile yet, at the same time want to kick the pots off the porch.  My "name sake" flower, if you will, geraniums - thrive and bloom best when the hot sun bears down and their soil dries up, reminds me of, well ... me or what I'm supposed to be - strong, independent, capable and best under pressure.  But lately I've been wishing for a little TLC,  a little peace, some cool ground... just a promise and someone who will keep it.

I've been drawn to geraniums for years, ever since I broke down and cried in art class while trying to paint my first one. (Here's the story.) I learned to paint them years ago and have never tired of them.  When I moved to California on my own after nearly ten years of marriage and having to start over again, there were geraniums lining the streets it seemed.  In California, they grow all year long and can handle a great deal of wear and tear.  Baby Kitty liked to sit in a pot next to one on my porch in North Hollywood.  I've left a trail of potted geraniums behind with my friends as I moved from place to place.  Some of those plants are still alive.  I see them in every place I visit and have tons of pictures of them.  And while dating a guy years ago in L.A. he jokingly called me GerAmyUm because I painted them so much.  The name stuck, but he didn't stick around  - thank goodness.  

And even though I have been able to overcome alot, there has been so much that is out of my control that makes me crazy and angry.  I'm tired of bearing up under the heat and pretending like it doesn't bother me.  I have worked hard at creating a life -- my job, my home, my relationships, my art...  I work hard.  Maybe it's time to just BE....  If I bloom, Great.  If not, Great.  Am I not still a geranium?

"Whole hearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness.  It means cultivating the courage, compassion and connection to wake up in the morning and think, no matter what gets done and how much is left undone; I am enough."  - Brene Brown from the blog Ordinary Courage.

August 4, 2010

Webster Groves, Missouri

Every May, there is a plein air competition called Paint Webster in Webster Groves.  I participated in it the first year I moved here and had a good experience and even sold the piece I worked on all afternoon. The following year in 2009 I excitedly jumped in again.  It was a perfect day for painting out doors and I had a location all lined up.  I set up my little outdoor studio and dug in.  An hour later I was so frustrated with my painting, I abandoned it and decided to try another one at a different spot.   This time I chose the quad area of town and sat in a place where I wouldn't get so pulled in by the details.  I worked for an hour or so - still frustrated but pressing on.  Then the dentist whose house/practice I was painting came over and said a kind word to me.  I would have happily abandoned my work for conversation, but felt I should finish. Then not long after the lawn mowers started and I was in the way of the weekly quad mow.  Talk about distraction!  I had to pick up my portable studio to avoid the path of the tractor.  At this point I was 4 hours into it - cold, tired and just about ready to throw my painting under the wheels of the lawn mower, I decided to call it a day and chalk it up to a bad temper and grass.

That was over a year ago.

I found the painting recently pressed between watercolor paper and mat board.  I set it out and just looked at it for a couple of days and I came to the conclusion...

"It wasn't bad! So why did I give up?"

First of all let me point out the most important thing.  Never throw away a painting no matter how you "feel" about it.  NEVER.  Your feelings change, the painting doesn't.  And I have to say I learned some very important lessons in this process.

1. I'm a horrible judge of my own work WHILE I'm working.
2. My feelings taint my judgment.
3. Feelings get in the way of painting... sometimes.
4. Stepping away is important.

I put a few, yes just a few, finishing touches on this painting and am actually proud to post it.  May you take these art lessons and apply them to non-art things too people!!!!

July 31, 2010

Home with my Zinnias

Hey there my blogger friends, I know it's been awhile.  I've been so busy with work, travel and a little vacation.  In the next couple of weeks I'll post some of the paintings I did on my travels - just have some finishing touches. 

This is the first cutting of Zinnias from my garden - love painting these too.  And they look so pretty in a beautiful terracotta pitcher I bought in Spain this past month.  I'll tell you more about that later. But for now just glad to be home.  This is what I do once I get home after I've been away for a bit.

1. Hug and kiss Baby Kitty until she howls and wishes I would leave again.
2. Cut flowers from my garden.
3. Thank God that my home is still standing when I get back.
4. Wish I had cut the grass before I left.
5. Go see Kennedy to see if she missed me - so far she hasn't noticed.
6. Make coffee and sit on my back porch.
7. Weed.
8. Paint the flowers I just cut for a vase.

July 18, 2010


In between I see beauty, smell flowers, feel the sun...
In between I dip my brush and change the paper.

Obsession is "the state in which an individual becomes obsessed with an attachment to another person, being or object."   

A warning to my fellow bloggers, please be careful with what you post.  I recently learned a good friend of mine who is being stocked/hounded/pursued by an aggressive follower to his blog.  It's hard to believe but all kinds are out there.    

Remember, blogs only show you a glimpse of a person's life. The glimpse he or she may want to share - just a corner of the table, a corner of life.   

June 2, 2010

Significant Days

... so the days through which we struggle, 
finding no way, 
but never losing the light 
will be the most significant we are called to live.
- Robert Collger

June 1, 2010


I don't know why this isn't finished yet... this little story... the pictures that go with it.  Perhaps I've just put so much pressure on myself.  It means so much to me. Perfectionism is a tremendous block to its completion.  I'm pulling it out, breaking it down and tackling this project this summer.  Because, summer time is the best time for geraniums and GerAmyUm!

May 31, 2010

Pity Party Crashed

I was glad to see this weekend come, I mean who doesn't enjoy a three day weekend.  But now, on Sunday night after two days of keeping company with myself, I'm feeling a bit blue.  Well, at least I was.  Once again I found myself alone at my large dining room table with a cup of coffee, a couple of magazines, some books and my "new" sketch book.  On most days this is a lovely little setting I really enjoy.  But today, I was a bit lonely.  I've only been in St. Louis for two years and am still adjusting to life here.  It's so different than my life in California.  Most weekends were filled with cooking out, going to Disney, or just meeting up.  My life was far from perfect there, but from my point of view, alone at my kitchen table, it seemed fairly perfect and so I could feel the pity party beginning.  "Poor me" having to sip coffee alone in this pretty tea cup that my girlfriend gave me..."   Then I smiled remembering her, and how I loved these tea cups.  They're extra special because they're old and when she gave them to me she knew I would love them... and she was right.  I looked around the room and saw all kinds of gifts and reminders of friendships - old and new,  past and even present.  I have so many lovely things either given as gifts from family and friends or purchased on a fun outing.  Yes, I'm alone... but only for the moment.

May 30, 2010

Discovering Artists on the Web

Occasionally I do a little web surfing to see what the other artists out in the world are up to and I just love to share their work.  I mean, sure I do what I do, but it just tickles me pink to see what others create.  So, this is Andrea Joseph you can get to her blog here.  And she does these amazing ball point pin sketches.  BALL POINT PEN!!!!  I don't live to draw, drawing is just a means for me to get to the watercolor.  But her art and fun perspective really encourages me to work on my drawing.  I just ordered my first "Zine" from her Etsy shop and can't wait to get it.

Then there's Geninne's Art Blog.  I love her spirit, her calender collages, her birds and how she seems to make every day a special moment.  There seems to be nothing mundane about this artist.  Because of her I now own a bottle of white ink.  I'm learning to be more adventurous and playful with my art.  Sometimes it seems like every piece I paint is a "WORK OF ART"  and not about playing, learning and trying new things.  Thanks Geninne for reminding me to play and explore.

May 25, 2010

Ranunculas... again

Well, what do you expect...  if you love a flower you can never paint them enough.  The season for ranunculas is long gone.  I never seem to get enough of them though.  I did this mixed media early this spring it includes watercolors (of course), Chinese Sumi ink and Conte crayons. (You can learn more about the painting here.)   I had to post something happy because I lost my sketch book on my flight last week.  I've been looking for it over the weekend and finally had to just face the fact that I left it on the plane.  It must have fallen out of my bag.  I called the airline this afternoon to see if they've found it.  I'm crossing my fingers.  It's not that the art is extraordinary in these little journals.  It's just they go with me everywhere and I collect quotes and ideas and I love doing little watercolor paintings in them.  Some of which I share with the blogging community like this one or this one.  Over the years I have accumulated 22 sketchbooks and this if the first one I've lost.  Oh POOO!!!!   If you found a painter's sketchbook would you keep it?

May 23, 2010

A Lil' Bit of Beauty

Many years ago I had a friend who told me that when she was having a bad day she would call a friend - usually one she hadn't spoken to in awhile to catch up and see how they were.  I think this is probably one of the best pieces of advice I've ever heard and have used.  As Anne LaMott wrote, "A sick, worried mind can't heal a sick, worried mind."  But sometimes the hardest thing you can do is just get out of your own head.  Another friend said to me a couple of weeks ago that my mind was like a bad neighborhood and I shouldn't go there alone.  Or,  at all...  I love my funny, wise friends.  I owe them so much for keeping me laughing and sane and showing me a different way.  Then, I can move forward and help someone else get through that bad neighborhood.  I think that's primarily why I blog.  Sure I like showing you what I paint.  But I have found that painting not only makes me happy but it also makes others happy.  And for some reason that's really important to me.  There's so much in the world draining us of our creativity, energy and joy, we really must find ways to put some beauty back.  And if it's as simple as drawing a smiley face in the dirt on your car window, painting a vase of roses or walking through a bad neighborhood with a friend, it's a good thing.  It's important.  It matters.

May 20, 2010


Sometimes, heck most of the time you have no choice but to wait.
Wait and see...Because really, do you have as much control and power as you think you have?  I am not a patient person when it comes to myself and all I want to accomplish in this life, with my days or even in my moments. I'm great at preparing the flower beds, planting the seeds in nice little rows, but waiting for the flowers to grow... that's another thing.  And, there's nothing I can do but wait, because flower seeds don't care how I feel or what I want.  They will sprout when they sprout.  I'm learning patience because really I have no choice.  Yelling at the flower seeds, getting mad, throwing a fit doesn't make the flowers come any quicker.
I did this picture of Noah and the animals waiting on the ark awhile back but I still love it, it's a calm reminder that I need to accept that waiting is part of life and maybe even find something to enjoy about the "wait".  Eventually the water WILL recede and the flowers WILL come.

May 15, 2010

Kathy D Inspires Me

... no I'm not going to rap or write a poem today.  This is just a little "shout out" to a creative whom I've seen grow - and shrink a great deal since meeting her in 2002.   I wrote out this recipe because it's my favorite for blueberry muffins - it's yummy, it's easy and it's from scratch - the way cooking ought to be.  As I was working on this I thought of Kathy D - she doesn't use recipes, she doesn't have to.  She's one of those creative souls who cooks with her heart and  her senses and loves the hunt for the freshest and best ingredients.  Then, when she has created something that make her heart sing - she gets to eat it and her tongue and stomach applaud her newest creation.  Yes, that happens on a daily basis.  She feeds her tummy, her heart, her soul with her creativity.  Sounds just perfect doesn't it.  Well, it's not.  Not by a long stretch.  The hard part for Kathy D is that she has to support herself by working retail.  And as you all know, retail is brutal.  For me I think it's brutal because people in general can be quite rude and unthinking about their words and tone.  I've worked a million different jobs and really wish people (including myself) could be more mindful of how they treat one another.  It all matters.  Really.  Once several years ago, I was pretty down and out - no money, no direction, just FULL of desire. So, I went to McDonalds.  (I realize for some, that could make things worse, but I like McDonalds and I could afford that little pick me up.)  The lady at the counter who took my order for my double cheeseburger and chocolate shake told me she really liked my dress and it looked very pretty on me.  I almost cried.  I needed that more than the double cheeseburger.  I'm not advocating tossing out random compliments.  I'm just here to remind myself and you all to keep in mind that creative spirit you cross paths with everyday.  Most days Kathy does well and is able to create in spite of her circumstances. Still it's not always easy and I think the miraculous part is creating, being and moving forward no matter what the world around you - including spouses, bosses, the public is yelling at you.  So today - I raise my fork to Kathy D - she's creating no matter what because it's in her soul and I know she'll be just fine.

May 13, 2010


You can almost here her purr can't you?  I know I maybe a little bit crazy cat lady-ish.  But she's my buddy and has been for ten years.  I'm her best and ONLY friend, so I take that very seriously.  Besides, she loves to pose and sits still for a pretty long time when she knows she's being painted.  In fact, when she was just a young thing, she would sit in the middle of my still life's that I would set up on my dining room table.

Crazy attention seeking thing... I created a diva by painting her too much I think.   But I have to say, she's in my top 5 things I like to paint.  So, I will probably continue to paint Her "Fluffiness."

May 12, 2010

Snot Bubbles of Gratitude

This past March I received an e-mail commission from the daughter-in-law of an acquaintance. I would like to say friend, but I had only spoken to this woman a handful of times, like her lots, but really didn't know her well. So you can imagine what a surprise it was when her daughter in-law contacted me requesting a French flower shop picture for her mother-in-law as a gift for Mother's Day. I was happy to oblige, especially since I just LOVE painting French flower shops. The final painting is the one you see above. I sent it off and well, forgot about it. So this past Monday, I received the nicest thank you phone call. And I must say, it just made my week. This woman was so happy, so surprised and liked it so much that she cried - yes, cried!! And I quote, "I cried so hard there were snot bubbles." I was completely floored. Now, I realize that said "snot bubble" watercolor above may not be cry worthy to you, but when you think of all the hearts of love that went into it, you might just cry too. She had a daughter -in-law who payed attention to her interests and loved her enough to plan this gift ahead of time and her entire family pitched in to buy this original. And my small part was to paint something for her that her family already knew she would love and cherish. I'm just honored to be a part of the process.

May 9, 2010

Lafayette Square in St. Louis

For those of you who don't know much about St. Louis, Lafayette Square is a hidden gem - and my favorite place in the city. A little edge of the city that feels like Europe and yes there is a fabulous cafe that makes the best chocolate croissants in town Rue Lafayette. You almost expect people to be greeting each other with Bonjour as you stroll down the sidewalk. The entire park is enclosed by intricate rod iron gates. This is a fairly large painting at 22"x30". I hope to get it framed this week - something French of course. Bonsoir

May 4, 2010

Peonies Galore

I could hardly let this day go by without a quick watercolor of peonies from "my," yes, "MY" front yard. You see, I haven't had a yard of my own for nearly a decade and these are a glorious celebration for me in many ways. I'm just so thankful that the previous owner planted so many. When you walk by them, you think someone sprayed a little too much perfume. Or if you enter a room where I've put a few in vases you might ask who lit a candle. How I wish there was a scratch and sniff link so you could smell them. Then this past weekend I picked a little miniature bouquet. Again, it was nice to pick them from my very own garden. Nearly 8 years ago when I first moved to Southern California I was blown away by the flowers - all the time and everywhere. So many people with yards and flowers that seemed to take over. Did these people know what they had? You really don't understand and appreciate flowers until they're gone or you have to experience winter again. Though I don't love winter, I do think it's a necessary part of really feeling grateful and thankful for Spring. Anyway, late at night I would wonder my California neighborhood and well, um, yeah, steal flowers.... I know its wasn't exactly up and up. But some how I justified it by saying the rose bush really did need a pruning and at times I really felt my sanity was at stake when I first moved to Los Angeles - alone, single, unsure of what my future held. Today my friend Judy said that my Peonies were hope. Yes, flowers do remind us of hope and I think that's why I paint them constantly and never grow tired of them. We need hope as much as we need flowers.

April 20, 2010

April 6, 2010

My Favorite Geranium Painting

This is my favorite geranium watercolor painting that I've done. It hangs at my parents house. And I have to say this one makes me happiest of all. Perhaps it is time to end on a happy note. Spring is coming - new growth, new possibility maybe it's time to plant a new flower. Lots of rain is good for flowers. It's hard to remember that when it's falling. I'm not sure what I'm to do with all the pressures that surround me. I've always do best under a certain amount of pressure, but lately it's been so negative that the very joy of painting seems to be a burden. I'll look at this like rain, lots of rain... to bring lots of flowers.


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